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Art competitions

Submission and rejection

There’s been a fair amount of discussion in the art world about the validity of various ‘open’ art competitions recently. Kathryn Tyrell who writes the excellent and very informative blog Making a Mark has published an article covering the main points.

Choose the right competition

I think information and transparency are the key factors. Inform yourself as to the nature of works that are accepted for competitions. I had a few frustrating years submitting to the Society of Wildlife Artists before really studying their exhibition and realising that my work simple doesn’t suit their overall theme, which is heavily based towards printmaking, birds and British mammals.
I do wish society exhibitions would publish their numbers more transparently, so artists have a clearer idea of entries, sales, and costs/spend.

My favourite competition by far is the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year. This year I have submitted the following two works. ‘Shadows kiss’ is a huge piece for me, and took me way out of comfort zone. Fingers crossed….

Sun glare

Shadows Kiss

Society of Equine Artists

This is another regular one for me, although there has been considerable chopping and changing with venues recently. It is now based at Palace house in Newmarket instead of London, and I’m a little doubtful as to whether it is going to be able to ensure enough sales to make exhibiting worthwhile, but we shall see. 
Stormrunner
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Cover girl!

Magazine cover

I was so honoured to have my image of Ivy Leaping selected as the front cover of ‘Paint’ the magazine for the Society of All Artists. It was published this month, and looks fantastic. Lovely article inside too. It’s a particularly poignant image for me as it was the first work I produced after having children and dealing with various health issues that I felt really began to reflect where I wanted to go with my art. I had previously been known for very traditional, realist works. I liked them, but there was little to distinguish them from the many realist artists out there. I wanted to create a body of art that felt more my own, rather than the culmination of a traditional atelier education.
I am rarely happy when I look at my older work, I always see scope for improvement, but in this one, I still love it as much as when I first finished it.

Society of Equestrian Artists

I drove up to Tuxford last weekend to attend the S.E.A. awards. I was fairly spot on with my predictions, although not always the right category! The main award is going to be presented next week, at the private view in London at the Osborne studio Gallery, so I will do a list of winners next week. I was a bit suprised to find the categories had changed, and I feel there needs to be more transparency within the society of the judging process.

Equine Art

I’ve been back in the studio, after what feels like a very long break. In fact I got face full of cobwebs when I walked in, so at least someone has been busy. I’m working some new equine pieces, and here is one in progress on the easel!

Society of Widlife Artists

‘Monkey Business’ got through the first round and has now been dispatched for second round judging – fingers crossed!

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Society of Equine artists

So this is for a bit of fun, but the Society of Equine Artists has opened its annual exhibtion this week, award ceremony this Sunday. These are my picks for the prize winners, not including myself obviously!!
You can see the whole exhibition online at www.equestrianartists.co.uk although the slide show is maddeningly slow. It would be much better formatted as a gallery, so it could be more easily browsed.
I’ll post the actual winners next friday!

Best drawing – “Crusader” Rebecca De Mindonca Pastel £1,900 38″x31″

I haven’t come across this artists work before, and it’s stunning, although I think the shoulder needs to merge more softly into the red background. The racing paintings on her website are fantastic, so I’m suprised they havn’t been included in the SEA exhibtion. 

Best contemporary “Irish Draft Stallion Gortfree Hero” Sara Hodson ASEA Oils £800 21″x21″

Sara has submitted a very strong trio of works. See more at
https://www.sarahodson.com/

Best Group of works by full member – “Guards” Kristine Nason SEA Pencil £580 20″x24″

Best hunting work – “Kimblewick Hunt Leaving the Full Moon” Dennis Syrett SEA PPROI RBA RSMA Oils £8,000 32″x40″

I like Frderick Haycocks work as well, also a strong contender. 

Best coloured horse (!) “Zebra” Kim Thompson Acrylic £1,800 21″x41″
This might not count being a zebra, so technically not a horse, but it’s a lovely work. Realistically Malcolm Coward will probably win. Again.

Best in show -“Seventh Wave” Rosemary Sarah Welch SEA Oils £2,200 42″x38″

Best Sculpture – “The Chaser” Amy Goodman ASEA BA(Hons) Bronze 1/8 £5,250 20″x20″x8″

Best racing work -“Headway” Michelle McCullagh SEA Oils £2,800 25″x18″
Hard one to call this, as Michelle won last year I think, but to me this one stands out. 
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Horses for courses

Equine Art

Summer is fading, and the kids are about to start back at school, including my youngest in her slightly too big pinafore and pristine white socks. I feel sad to see her go but it does mean I will now have five days a week to work, uninterrupted. Five days!! It’s been a long time since I had that. 
Horses have taken star billing this summer, kicking off with the Society of Equine Artists, who posted their selection at the end of July. I’m delighted that all three of mine got in, initallialy being exhibited at the Sally Mitchell Galleries and two were cherry picked to go onto the Osborne Studio Gallery in Knightsbridge for an exhibition of Equine art in September.

Espirito Gitano

Phaeton

The Midas Touch

I was hugely honoured to have the opportunity to go and photograph the “Golden Horse” Pearl of Peace at his yard, along with two other stallions. This extraordinary stallion is one of a kind, with an incredibly rare genetic combination that gives him his reflective, metallic gold colouring. He is still a youngster at three but such a character, and a real performer, clearly going to love the spotlight his life will entail! I am hoping to create a series of paintings from my time there, and will post progress on my FaceBook page.

Society of Wildlife Artists

I am currently framing “Monkey Business” in order to present it to the final selection for the society of wildlife Artists in mid September. I was pleased, and a bit surprised to have a piece accepted at the first round, as their emphasis seems to be heavily in favour of bird paintings, particularly those in a natural setting. Fingers crossed for the final round at the Mall Galleries!


So back to the grindstone in a few days, I’m looking forward to really getting my teeth into a new series, I feel as though I have been away from my studio for too long!

Video Games

I’m slowly getting to grips with making short videos, and the timelapse ones seem to be the most popular. Here’s a link to a recent painting of a dark grey arab.
YouTube video of Catherine painting

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The legend of Aonbarr

The inspiration and story of Aonbarr

This image I created, in charcoal and wash on paper, has taken me by surprise by its popularity, and many have asked how I come up with the idea for a new work, what sets the ‘spark’ for a fresh series of paintings.

Aonbarr 

Unicorns and Kelpies

I had been watching ‘Into the West’ a tearjerker of an Irish film, about a magical horse called Tir na nog, who transforms the lives of some kids in Dublin slums, but when I did some more research I found that Tir na nOg is the Irish name for the Land of Youth, or utopia, and the magic horse was called Aonbarr or Embarr, he had the ability to cross water and could carry the chosen over the sea to Tir na nOg.
I stumbled across the work of Emily Hancock, a very talented photographer who allowed me to use one of her images as the basis for Aonbarr. I wanted to capture that ethereal touch about him, a bit water kelpie, a touch of wildness. I did not however want to veer into the saccharine world of ‘magical unicorns with golden hooves and glittering manes’. It’s a fine line….

Large size print framed (700x560mm)

To sell or not to sell?

I know when I a painting is going to be successful when I find myself really wanting to keep it. I framed Aonbarr up, and hung it in our sitting room, but within a couple of hours of publishing it on Facebook it had been snapped up, followed by several more enquiries! Fortunately I have had him photographed, so have a Limited Edition of 250 Giclee Prints available. They are produced by a Fine Art Guild printer, in three sizes starting from £45. I now have the largest size framed in my bedroom!

Quiron

Painting horses

I have always loved painting horses, but in truth, have found equine work very hard to sell, I think those involved in equine life are drawn to a specific animal or rider, and so do not want to purchase a work which depicts an unknown horse or jockey. I wanted to create work that appealed to everybody, even those with no interest in riding, something more generic than a ‘racing’ or ‘polo’ painting. There is a struggle sometimes between painting subjects that you want to depict versus work that will sell, and I’m pleased that this series has encompassed both sides. I am now working with a local Andalusian stallion as a model and am hoping to have maybe half a dozen more equine works along a similar vein. You can see their progress in more detail on my FaceBook page

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Back to school, back to the studio.

The summer seems to have flashed by, a blur of road trips, camping and holidays en famille. I love travelling, as I find a change of scene can often light the spark of inspiration and can be the catalyst for a whole new series of paintings. Such a thing happened on our recent trip to Paimpol in France, it was the most stunning town, crammed with surprisingly good galleries, artist and artisans.
I fell in love with the work by this sculptor Jean Francois Gambino

It was a pleasure to see so much craft, colour and talent in the myriad of small shops. These glass blowers were exceptional, I could easily have spent my annual profits in their shop, which doubled as their studio, so we could watch the glass blowers at work. Verr-Glass, Paimpol

Even the sardine tin arranger had an eye for colour and display!

The thing that fired me up though was a trip to a small, slightly dishevelled circus. Whether one agrees with animals performing or not there is something very magical about being in a tent, mere inches away from a tigers tail. The children were transfixed, absolutely mesmerised throughout the two hour show. I was inspired. I am not going to include wild animals in paintings, but I would very much like to do a circus series of performing horses and dogs, so watch this space.

September is shaping up to be an insanely busy month, with one or two projects opening every week. The show in Essex at the Aubrey Gallery opens this Friday so do please visit if you are in the region. I am also pleased to say that the David Shepherd Wildlife Fund is now representing me and my prints can be bought through their website, or their gorgeous gallery in Guildford, Surrey.

I am attending the private view of the Society of Equestrian Artists at the Mall Galleries, London tomorrow night, where my charcoal work, “Brace for Landing” has been hung.

The Country Life Fair in Fulham Palace on the 27/28th September is taking up most of my waking hours, although I think we are pretty much prepared for it. They are hosting the most incredible drinks reception & ball on the 10th of September in the Natural History Museum for which tickets are still available.

So, the children go back to school on Wednesday and I go back to the studio, I have several British native mammal works planned out, which will hopefully be ready for the Country Life Fair. Please see my InglebyArt Facebook page for daily updates, or follow me on Twitter @InglebyArt

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Post exhibition

Oil and Water Gallery, Wandsworth

A very successful run of private views at the newly launched Oil & Water Gallery  in Wandworth. The paintings held their own on the walls, surrounded by several other stunning paintings from a variety of artists.

340, Old York Road SW18 1SS

It’s been fantastic to be involved with a gallery from its set up. The amount of work and expense that goes into the setting up is staggering. Galleries have an enormously important role to play in the art world, bridging the gap between artists and clients, and while the Internet may have made artists far more directly accessible nothing makes life easier for an artist than a good agent or gallery owner. I do think galleries need to become far more interactive spaces, as the book selling trade has cottoned onto so well, holding literary festivals, author led evenings, book signing events etc. the art world has made a start, but there is still a long way to go. With this in mind, Oil & Water are holding a ‘meet the artist’ night on the 14th November, please contact the gallery if you’d like to attend.

I sold various paintings over the private views, the jumping dogs were enormously popular, and the battle for the charcoal of Ivy was won by a friend of mine. Lovely to know where a painting will end up. I’m now back in the studio and will be definitely be exploring the theme of the jumping dogs further, I have several charcoals and oils planned, the pressure is now on for the solo exhibition in June!

 
Lion Leaping – Sold

I’m now looking towards the Christmas countdown, always my busiest time. Burford Gardens have sold out of the chicken prints and so need more stock, plus they’d like a drawing of a “Burford Brown” hen. So that’s in the pipeline, and the usual rush of Christmas commissions are beginning to roll in.

The Wandsworth gallery is holding a limited edition prints show in the run up to Christmas, so I’m busy framing and mounting for that.

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Art Competitions.

I’ve been spreading myself far and wide in the past couple of months entering pretty much every art competition going. My painting ‘Stags in Rut’ was awarded ‘Commended’ in its category in the BBC Wildlife Artist of the year, and I was given a lovely certificate, (though frankly would have quite liked the free safari and/or some cash!) and I got to spend the day in Marwell Zoo with the immensely talented Fran Sanders , who is a genuine wildlife artist.

I did wonder if I could stretch the boundaries of truth and enter the Sky.com portrait competition which is offering a very lucrative prize pot. Ironically I trained as a portrait artist, but quickly discovered I wasn’t best suited to that career; the best portrait artists leave their clients half in love with them, whereas I think my sittings were more akin to spending time with the Gestapo. I can’t chit chat while painting, listen to Shania Twain on loop and am not very tolerant of ‘suggestions’. Suffice to say, it was a short stint, and I moved into painting animals, which are largely silent and un-opinionated. Here’s an example of one of my early portraits (paid model – did as was told.)

This brings us back to horses, and the next big competition on the horizon is the Society of Equine Artists which is held in the Mall Galleries in London. The racing paintings are progressing really well, creating the spray of paint and movement has been challenging, but despite a paint splattered spaniel have been mostly successful. Loving painting on a bigger scale too, the one below is nearly 4 feet wide.

The Henley Arts Trail was a resounding success, hundreds people trooping through the studio doors, viewing and buying art. However next year, to save time, I might equip myself with one of these T-shirts….